Rarely does a Taneytown official have the chance to represent Baltimore's interests, but Mayor Henry C. Heine will be doing that for the next year as president of the Maryland Mayors' Association.
The association, made up of mayors from the state's 157 towns and cities, lobbies state government on behalf of municipal interests.
As president, Heine will likely spend a few weeks in Annapolis in the spring testifying on municipal issues.
The association meets five times a year. Its next gathering is scheduled for October, when the mayors will begin crafting their legislative agenda. Heine offered no hints of what might be key issues.
When asked what Taneytown, population 5,128, has in common with Baltimore, population 651,154, Heine said, "Regardless of size, we all have the same sources of problems. We all have infrastructure. We all have police. It's just a matter of scale."
The mayor is not the first Carroll countian in recent years to lead a statewide municipal organization. Former New Windsor Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. recently completed a term as president of the Maryland Municipal League, an association that represents the state's municipal governments.
Heine has been mayor for two years. He said his peers approached him at the first association meeting he attended and asked him to become second vice president. He moved to vice president last year, and at this summer's convention in Ocean City, the mayors elected him to the top post.
Heine said he likes lobbying and interacting with leaders from across the state. He said he believes his new prominence will bring needed attention to Taneytown, a town working to revitalize its main street.
In addition to lobbying, the association will sponsor a trip to Washington for the mayors and $500 scholarships for 11 Maryland fifth-graders who need help with educational expenses.
The topic for the fifth-graders' essays is: "What I would do if I were mayor."